The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, completed in 1888, has been opened to the public for 127 years. Located in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park, it is the second oldest glass conservatory in America.
Originally The Baltimore Conservatory, it was renamed in 2004 after an extensive renovation funded by the state, Baltimore City, the Baltimore Conservatory Association and city residents. The conservatory is operated and maintained by city workers and a group of dedicated volunteers.
The conservatory’s large open space allows for the display of large tropical plants. However, some of the most interesting and challenging pictures to take are of the small flowers and seed pods. By using macro lens, I was able to get close-up photos of them and of the interesting growth patterns of some of the desert plants. The overhead glass panels allow for good lighting to photograph the various interesting views of the larger plants.
Year-round displays of flowers and plants from around the world can be viewed in five exhibit areas.
• The original 50-feet tall Palm House has 175 window panes houses exotic palms.
• The Orchid Room features a rotation of blooming orchids from around the world.
• The Mediterranean House has olive and citrus that are February bloomers.
• The Tropical House contains a waterfall pond with aquatic plants and gold fish and showcases various fruit-bearing plants such as banana, guava and papaya.
• The Desert House contains the conservatory’s arid climate plants — the agave, various cacti, euphorbias and Joshua tree. This room features an irrigation system that simulates a desert monsoon storm that help produce wild and colorful blooms on spiky cacti soon after watering.
There is a special Holiday display until January 3 showing and selling of poinsettias in various colors of red, orange, pink with white and variegated.